Veteran's Appreciation Week Kickoff

Dr. Henry Shannon tying a ribbon around the canyon oak tree dedicated to the veterans of Chaffey College. Photo by Brody Salazar.

Dr. Henry Shannon tying a ribbon around the canyon oak tree dedicated to the veterans of Chaffey College. Photo by Brody Salazar.

On Monday, October 6, Chaffey College's Veterans Appreciation Week began with an event organized by the Veteran's Resource Center, which had multiple people speaking to the audience about the value of veterans to the US, as well as how best to honor them.

The event began with introductions by Charles Pratella and the Director of the Veteran's Resource Center Adrienne Grayson, proceeded with the National Anthem by Vicki Valle, had speeches by faculty and veterans, took a moment of silence and lit a candle in the memory of both those who have served and those who have fallen, had members of the Veteran's Resource Center helping to plant a tree in honor of those who have served in the American military and ended with an open table for attendees to grab food from and converse with each other.

“This week people throughout the country will gather together to remember, to honor and pay gratitude to those who have served our country,” said Pratella in his introduction. “Our gathering today is just one small spark of the pride that burns across the nation today and everyday. It’s not a lot, but it’s one small way we can honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live a free life.”
Governing board members included Board President Katie Roberts, Vice President Kathleen Brugger, board member Gary Ovitt and board member Lee McDougal. Other community members present included Superintendent Dr. Henry Shannon, Vice President of Student Services Dr. Eric Bishop, Dean of Counseling Amy Nevarez.

Those who delivered the speech were Daniel Keener, Dr. Eric Bishop, Amy Navarez, Laura Rodes, Christian Crusberg, Lisa Nashua, Gary Ovitt, Dr. Henry Shannon and Charles Prattella. Many of those attending the event had either personal involvement with the armed forces or were close to those who have served.

“For many of us this is a very personal issue, for me included,” said Grayson. “My husband was a veteran, my father was a veteran, my father-in-law was a veteran, my uncle… Very, very personal for me.”

The speeches concerned subjects from the value of veterans in American society to the history of Veteran's Day.

“We are here today to celebrate those who have served their country,” Keener said. "They were willing to sacrifice time with their families. They were willing to face incredible and dangerous circumstances. They were willing to give up their personal freedoms for the freedoms of those back home… It is only fitting that we thank them for their willingness. Thank them for their bravery. And thank them for their sacrifices.”

After all the speakers finished, a bow was tied on a recently planted canyon oak tree as a representation of “honor, patriotic duty and to let everyone know that our veterans are always here on campus yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

According to Grayson, the canyon oak tree was specifically chosen by a committee because it is “strong and sturdy” and will remain for “years and years to come” just like the student veterans who come to Chaffey.

After the bow was tied many of the speakers worked together to shovel dirt around the base of the tree to finish the process of planting it.